Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

Scottish Daily Mail - - News -

WHILE ren­o­va­tion of the Palace of West­min­ster is de­bated, I’m re­minded that when it burnt down in 1834 King Wil­liam IV of­fered Buck­ing­ham Palace to Par­lia­ment. The 658 MPs – there are 650 now – would have oc­cu­pied the ballroom. The king was keen to off­load it but his of­fer was de­clined. Per­haps the Queen, who prefers Wind­sor, could make the of­fer again. Buck­ing­ham Palace has 775 rooms, a staff lounge, a cin­ema, a bar and a very com­fort­able mess. It also has a bar­ber’s room, a gym, a den­tal surgery, med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties, a post of­fice, a swimming pool and a large gar­den. There are also se­cret tun­nels to White­hall and West­min­ster.

THE Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge are ex­pected to at­tend Bafta’s 70th-an­niver­sary awards cer­e­mony on Fe­bru­ary 12 – he’s pres­i­dent – but there’s talk that Kate might not be wel­comed by all of those present. Why so? ‘She might out­shine the luvvies and the event it­self,’ sug­gests a source. Wil­liam hasn’t shown much en­thu­si­asm for Bafta events. They might be bet­ter off with Harry. His con­sort, Meghan Markle, has be­come a fa­mous luvvie.

BEAU­TI­FUL, Tory-in­clined po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor and broad­caster Is­abel Hard­man, 30, pic­tured, who has writ­ten mov­ingly about suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion, is ro­man­ti­cally in­volved with Labour MP John Wood­cock, 38, who parted from his wife, Mandy, in 2014. As it hap­pens, he too suf­fered from this mal­ady three years ago, writ­ing in The Guardian: ‘I am de­pressed and have de­cided to get help.’ Later he an­nounced the end of his ten-year mar­riage to wife Mandy. Con­firm­ing his re­la­tion­ship with Ms Hard­man, Wood­cock says: ‘Is­abel would prob­a­bly ob­ject to be­ing de­scribed as Tory-in­clined.’

PARAL­YSED, wheel­chair-bound TV re­porter Frank Gard­ner, 55, has been tour­ing the wilds of Pa­pua New Guinea, fa­mous for its tribe of can­ni­bals, for a two-part BBC film, Birds Of Par­adise: The Ul­ti­mate Quest. Shot six times by an Al Qaeda sym­pa­thiser in Saudi Ara­bia 13 years ago, Gard­ner was ac­com­pa­nied by writer/ex­plorer Bene­dict Allen, 56, who ate his dog in 1982 af­ter get­ting lost in a Brazil­ian rain­for­est.

PO­LIT­I­CALLY cor­rect broad­caster Sandi Toksvig, 58, moans in Saga mag­a­zine that waiters ig­nored her at a pri­vate mem­bers’ club, adding: ‘When I com­plained, they looked to­tally star­tled, as though I’d ap­peared out of thin air! I’m just tired of the in­vis­i­bil­ity of older women.’ A disgraceful way to treat the old trout, who founded the Women’s Equal­ity Party.

DON­ALD Trump’s de­ci­sion to pro­ceed with the Dakota pipe­line is con­tro­ver­sial – pump­ing 470,000 bar­rels of oil a day across four states, it’s op­posed by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and na­tive Amer­i­cans. It is, how­ever, ap­proved by for­mer vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sarah Palin, 51, who tells Trump: ‘Drill, baby, drill.’

RE Trump, what will the PM wear to meet him to­mor­row? Theresa May isn’t averse to flash­ing her long legs but would that be wise given The Don­ald’s fruity rep­u­ta­tion? She has said she’ll tell him off if there’s any in­ap­pro­pri­ate talk. Per­haps she should wear the T-shirt given to her by the Fawcett So­ci­ety, with the slo­gan: ‘This is what a fem­i­nist looks like.’

Email: peter.mckay@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

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